Experienced group returns to lead Mustangs

Taking over for a coaching legend is never easy. Inheriting a group of young, inexperienced players makes it even tougher. 

That’s what David Leiser faced when he took over the reins of the Mounds View High School boys basketball team last year. Leiser replaced Ziggy Kauls after Kauls stepped down following 45 years as the Mustangs’ coach.

Now in his second season at the helm, Leiser has what he believes is a better team. Mounds View returned four starters and nine total letterwinners from last year’s 12-15 team.

“We expect to be an improved team this season,” said Leiser. “We return quite a few letterwinners who gained valuable experience last season. Many of our players worked very hard over the off-season.”

Three of those players who return this season averaged in double figures in points last season. Senior Tim Hanson led the Mustangs with 14.9 points per game and was followed closely by junior Ryan Kaczynski and his 13.7 points per game. Senior Ben Spencer brings his 10.9 points per game back this season, too.Other returning players include seniors James Van Eps, Nick Varberg, Nick Justin, Henry Morris, Sola Olateju and John O’Dougherty. Returning juniors include Jered Everson, Max van de Werken and Tom Sletten. Also back is sophomore Nate Albers.

“The strength of our team is our experience and depth,” Leiser said. “We expect to be much better defensively this season.”

Mounds View gave up an average of 63.0 points per game last year while scoring 63.6.

Mounds View opens its season on Tuesday with a 7:15 p.m. non-conference game at Spring Lake Park. Other games of note this season include a visit to district rival Irondale on Dec. 6, the Suburban East Conference opener against Roseville on Dec. 10 and a game against Baldwin-Woodville (Wisc.) at Target Center on Jan. 18.

Speaking of the Suburban East Conference, Leiser expects a number of the teams to be strong this year.

“Our conference is very good,” said Leiser. “Cretin-Derham Hall, Woodbury, Roseville, White Bear Lake, Roseville and East Ridge will be some of the top teams in the metro area. Forest Lake has a young and talented team. Hastings and Park should also be much improved.”

Roseville and Woodbury tied for the conference championship last year with Stillwater, White Bear Lake and East Ridge rounding out the upper division. Mounds View finished seventh.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

2013-14 Mounds View High School boys basketball schedule

Nov. 26 at Spring Lake Park 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 3 vs. Minneapolis Southwest 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 6 at Irondale 8:15 p.m.
Dec. 10 vs. Roseville 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 13 at East Ridge 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 17 vs. Woodbury 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 20 vs. Cretin-Derham Hall  7:15 p.m.
Dec. 27 vs. TBA at Windom tournament 3 p.m.
Dec. 28 vs. TBA at Windom tournament  6 p.m.
Jan. 3 at White Bear Lake 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 7 vs. Stillwater 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 10 at Park-Cottage Grove 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 11 vs. Edina at Roseville Area HS 11 a.m.
Jan. 14 vs. Forest Lake 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 16 at Hastings 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 18 vs. Baldwin-Woodville at Target Ctr 3:20 p.m.
Jan. 21 at Roseville 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 24 vs. East Ridge 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 28 at Woodbury 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 31 at Cretin-Derham Hall  7:15 p.m.
Feb. 7 at White Bear Lake 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 11 vs. Stillwater 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 13 vs. Duluth East 7 p.m.
Feb. 14 vs. Park-Cottage Grove 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 18 at Forest Lake 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 21 vs. Hastings 7:15 p.m.

 

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